Not too long ago I fell across an incredibly inspiring TED Talk by British Curve Model Iskra Lawrence (find it HERE). In it, she covers issues surrounding body image and self care. Being a plus size model, Iskra has faced many body image challenges of her own as she has been confronted by traditional beauty norms. Around half way through her speech, Iskra tells a story of an experience she had in a designer clothing store. In a nutshell, she found a pair of jeans she loved and asked the store assistant for her size. The store assistant then told Iskra that the largest size they made in pants was a 29 (she is normally a 31). When Iskra went on to try the pants, they did not fit and she was confronted head on by her inner bully. Instead of letting her inner bully get the better of her, Iskra looked herself in the mirror and began listing out the things in her life that she was grateful for. Iskra employed her gratitude list.
Iskra Lawrence. Source: girls' life
So, what is a gratitude list?
Basically, a gratitude list is a list that you write about things you are thankful for in your life. These things don't need to be big. In fact, the smaller the thing you can add to the list of things that you are thankful for, the better. You might be grateful for your health, your family, your dog or your partner. You might be grateful that you get to live in such an amazing country, or even just having a warm bed to sleep in at night. You might even just be grateful for the ability to eat every day, your right to education, or even for the way the sun is shining today.
The most important part of a gratitude list is that you are able to redirect your focus AWAY from your own negativity (or the negativity others) and TOWARDS the great things in your life.
In Iskra's case, being able to list out the things she was grateful for in that moment when the jeans didn't fit her allowed her to walk out of the store with her head held high and to not fall into a negative spiral of self doubt. Some people find it beneficial to write a gratitude list everyday before they go to bed. Others, like myself, find gratitude lists helpful in times when they really need them. Check out some of the things myself and the CGM team are grateful for below:
The CGM team took a moment to write down the things we're grateful for
So how long should a gratitude list be?
As long as you like! You can start with three things and build it up to 100 (or more) if you like. Sometimes, when you first start writing your list, you might struggle to find things to write. THIS IS NORMAL! By taking the time to really FOCUS on being positive and mindful of the great things in life, you'll find that the things you are grateful for becomes so much easier. As time goes on you'll slowly find your outlook on life will transform as well. You'll start to be able to appreciate even the small things that happen (like getting green lights on your morning commute!) and deflect the negative things that might get you down normally.
If you've never tried taking a moment to be thankful for the things in your life that are worth appreciating, then perhaps this is a great time to start!